‘Meet our Leaders’: Phyllis Dorey, OAM

We are kicking off our ‘Meet Our Leaders’ campaign for you to get to know the individuals who inspire us every day. In this first post, meet Phyllis Dorey OAM, Chair of the WUPJ!

Born and raised in Australia to two Holocaust survivors, Phyllis’s unwavering dedication to the community is a legacy from her parents. From her early days at university Hillel to serving as a board member and president of her congregation, Phyllis’s journey is a testament to where passionate, intentional leadership can lead.

For Phyllis, community means having an extended family of friends, and through WUPJ, she has found these connections in all corners of the world. Whether from similar backgrounds or different ones, they all share one unifying bond: their Judaism and their love for Israel.

Phyllis’s favorite place in Israel is Tel Aviv because it’s alive. “When you think about it – only some years ago it was a whole lot of sand dunes, and now look at it. It’s the beating heart of Israel,” Phyllis marvels.

Her favorite prayer service is the last few minutes of Neila on Yom Kippur. In her synagogue, all the past presidents stand on the bima with the rabbi and the cantor. Phyllis feels emotional every year standing with the Ark open and the congregation behind her. “It feels as if everybody is moving towards the same place, towards a new year. A new possibility. And we’re all in it together.”

Her leadership style? A team player and a go-getter. “If you want something done, work hard for it,” she asserts with a smile.

“You’ve got to participate and make a difference. You’ve got to add value,” Phyllis says. She champions the idea that young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow—they are the leaders of today, ready to take the world by storm and shape our future.

Phyllis’s advice to new leaders: “Don’t rely on social media for your education. Engage with people, listen respectfully to diverse viewpoints. It’s all about learning, analyzing, and then making informed decisions. And above all, be true to yourself.”

Phyllis’s journey is a shining example of the impact one dedicated person can have. Her leadership is not just inspirational—it’s transformative. We are immensely blessed to have her at the helm of the WUPJ!